SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.
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▼ GAME Plan 4 Ways To Show VIPs The Love Who doesn't like to feel special? No matter how cutting edge or timely a sporting event may be, the decision to continue following or participating in it for the long term often comes down to how it makes a person feel, according to experienced sports event professionals like Tyler Childs, marketing and sales consultant for CSTT Sports International. "If a person feels connected and important to an event, their return is far more likely," he said, adding that the most successful VIP strategy begins with an atmosphere that is welcoming to all participants. "The first and most important rule is that everyone is a VIP," he said. "A first-time attendee or participant is just as important as one who is returning. 1 CHAVIS BY SELENA Without catering to the newcomer, you relinquish your ability to create and maintain long-term followers." Jim Giunta, executive director for the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA), said creating a VIP atmosphere is less about the amount of money spent but more about the feeling the extra effort gives attendees. "It's not so much what you give them, it's how you make them feel when you give it to them," he said. In an era of lean budgets and fierce competition in the amateur sports event industry, here are some tips from the trenches on how to create a VIP event without breaking the bank. ■ Focus On Relational Strategies Knowing your audience is a key ingredient to VIP success, said Sarah Joos, events coordinator for the United States Rowing Association (USRowing), adding that simply addressing a participant by name in a crowded room can lift an atmosphere up to the next level. "Research your guests. Be aware of who is attending your event, and ensure that all of the volunteers at the event know who is attending," she said. "This can be time consuming, but it gives your event that extra personal touch without needing to worry about your budget." Itʼs the difference between focusing on the extrinsic as opposed to the intrinsic, said Tyler Childs, marketing and sales consultant for CSTT Sports International. While extrinsic efforts such as gifts, glitz and glamour can 12 n ithout Busti! g W The Budget September 2013 provide an initial "wow" factor, he suggested that such efforts have to be backed by a sincere interest in the individual participants. "By engaging participants face-toface you can create a direct relationship that reaches far beyond the event organizer and event participant relationship. Creating trust and friendship introduces intrinsic motivators for repeat participation," he said. "Intrinsic motivation is based on human emotion creating a bond every individual seeks." Offering an example, Childs noted that during CSTTʼs inaugural TrailCross race hosted in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, staff dedicated time to speak with a number of participants to gain feedback, asking them what they felt could be done better, what they thought was done well and if they would participate again. "All of this created a bond between the participants and contributed to the growth of the event," he said. "It was the first event of its kind, and participantsʼ take away was that they contributed in the birth." ■ TrailCross www.sportseventsmagazine.com